Oriana's Reviews > Set This House in Order

Set This House in Order by Matt Ruff
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's review
Feb 10, 2008

really liked it
bookshelves: the-new-new-new-new-thing, read-2010
Recommended to Oriana by: karen & jasmine

For some reason always confused Matt Ruff's Sewer Gas and Electric , with Jim Dodge's Stone Junction , I guess I thought this one would also be some kind of hippie vision-quest parable thingy. Which: OMG no.

I don't want to talk much about the plot, because, especially for those of us with an unhealthy obsession with books, it's pretty rare to be able to go into something totally fresh and clean, without an idea of what kinds of people like it, what the hype has been, how well it's selling, what the major themes are, etc. And Set This House in Order—which, due to its extreme powers of disassociation, reminded me vaguely of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time —is a particularly great one to go into knowing nothing. So I'm not going to do anything remotely spoilery.

I'll just say this: This book is ridiculously engrossing. The characters are a total fascination; both their internal and external machinations are believably and heartbreaking and strong and true. In some ways it's a very straightforward book (although plotwise, it's pretty twisty), because it's not too engorged with dense language or symbolism or other kinds of literary trickery. The writing is slight enough and smart enough to stand back and let the plot come screaming through, to Matt Ruff's great credit.

This is a doozy of a story, and it flings you on ahead of it, through all its bobs and weaves. It's joyful and harrowing, devastating and redemptive, original and believable, and very, very engaging.
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Reading Progress

February 10, 2008 – Shelved
October 13, 2008 – Shelved as: the-new-new-new-new-thing
December 22, 2010 – Started Reading
December 28, 2010 – Finished Reading
January 15, 2011 – Shelved as: read-2010

Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

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Jasmine I told you he was the awesomeness

Oriana yeah, holy shit. This is totally nothing like what I was expecting (though what was I expecting? I couldn't tell you), but it is super great.

Jasmine I'm glad you like it.

Mariel I love this book.

Oriana Yay! But why no review?

Mariel I will have to review it. (I should anyway since I have set a goal for myself to review all the books on my favorites shelf.)

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